Check here each Wednesday for NL children’s message ideas from the brain of my husband, a pastor and elementary teacher (he comes up with the idea, I write them down).
This text tells of John’s puzzling doubts about Jesus’ identity. A barrier for John may be his inability to physically see, due to his imprisonment, Jesus claiming his identity by fulfilling the words he read from Isaiah in Luke chapter 4: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have good news brought to them. What do we do when we lose patience and have doubts about Jesus’ presence in the world today?
Begin the message by introducing a conversation about Jesus’ physical presence in our lives. Can we see Jesus? Can we reach out and touch Jesus? Can we hear his voice? No.
So where do we find Jesus today? How do we know Jesus is with us? We see people around us helping others and sharing the love of Jesus.
A helpful direction comes from Fred Rogers: “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” Where do we see helpers? When do we see them? We see them at home, at church, and throughout our everyday lives. Jesus is everywhere! Brainstorm a few examples of when we see and experience people helping and sharing Jesus’ love. How have they been helped by others?
To close, talk with the kids about how they are helpers. How do they show Jesus’ love? When do they see their friends helping? What are some new ways they can share the love of Jesus?
Close with a prayer: Jesus, thank you for being with us everyday. Remind us to watch for people showing your love, and teach us to be your helpers in our world. And all God’s children say: AMEN!
Optional sensory experiences:
Before the message, line up a few people in the congregation to be helpers and recipients of help. During the message, take the kids around the worship space to look for Jesus. Along the way, have them stop to help people–tie a shoe, pick up a toy, give a high-five to someone who looks sad, etc. Have congregation members help as well by handing you a tissue and/or pointing out those who may need help. Close by talking about how we see Jesus in each other when we help and receive help. While they looked for Jesus, everyone was sharing Jesus!
Or–instead of taking the kids around the worship space, have them help you. During your message, stop a few times to ask for help. Have the kids help you tie your shoe, bring you a Bible and/or a tissue, pick up something you drop, etc. Do some helping tasks for them as well to emphasize mutuality. Incorporate this into your discussion of their roles as helpers and recipients of help.